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Independent for Newark and District representative ‘deeply disappointing’ by changes to Newark Hospital’s Urgent Treatment Centre opening hours, made by the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Intergrated Care Board

There has been widespread disappointment at the announcement of Newark Hospital’s new permanent opening hours for the Urgent Treatment Centre.

This week the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board announced their decision to extend the hours at the centre by an hour and a half following a public consultation.

The new hours will see the centre open an hour earlier in the morning and stay open half an hour later, from 8am to 10.30pm — with final patient admissions remaining at 9.30pm.

Newark Hospital, Urgent Treatment Centre
Newark Hospital, Urgent Treatment Centre

These changes are scheduled to take effect this summer.

Reaction to the news has not gone down well with residents who have long expressed a desire for the Urgent Treatment Centre to return to over night opening, which was removed as a temporary measure several years ago due to staffing issues.

Last year the Independent for Newark and District group launched a petition urging health bosses to reinstate Newark’s overnight urgent care service — which has so far recived over 2,000 signatures.

Following the most recent announcement from the Integrated Care Board, Susan Crosby, who is Newark and Sherwood District Council’s portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, offered a statement on behalf of the Independent for Newark and District.

She said: “The reality is that the hours have only been extended by one (hour) and this will make very little difference to people needing urgent treatment because patient admissions will continue to cease at 9.30pm and sometimes earlier if the unit is too busy.

“This decision is certainly not based on the public consultation or the well-known views of the vast majority of residents of Newark and Balderton who already have no access to a local A&E or overnight urgent care.

“If the decision had been based on the clear needs and stated views of our residents, the Urgent Treatment Centre would be open 24 hours.

“As a councillor for Newark and Sherwood District Council, I have worked relentlessly to try to convince the Integrated Care Board and Sherwood Forests Hospitals Trust of the clear need to restore overnight urgent treatment care at Newark hospital.”

Susan Crosby, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, at the Urgent Treatment Centre.
Susan Crosby, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, at the Urgent Treatment Centre.

She added: “I am also leading on the Independents for Newark & District petition to help give a more powerful voice to our residents, which is now over 2,000 signatures including signatures collected by hand.

“So many worried and frustrated residents are reaching out to us, and we echo their concerns and are here to represent them.

“This decision is deeply disappointing, and I am greatly concerned about the future of healthcare provision in the area.

“With new housing developments proliferating and an ever-increasing population which already suffers from inadequate public services, I fear it is only a matter of time before we will see a further increase in deteriorating health outcomes and avoidable deaths for our most vulnerable residents.

“I would like to urge all those who share my concerns to continue to demand better healthcare services in Newark and Balderton and will be keen to work with them alongside my councillor duties.”

Non-aligned Independent councillor, Debbie Darby, added: “This extension to opening hours shouldn’t be a cause for celebration.

“It represents a slight improvement in opening hours but is still not good enough.

“This will give encouragement however to those, like me fighting for a full-time A&E at our hospital.

“This campaign will not stop until the residents of Newark and its towns and villages get the health service they need and deserve.

“Why should we tolerate a poorer health service than other parts of Nottinghamshire?”

Sherwood Forests Hospitals Trust, which runs Newark Hospital, have been approached by the Advertiser but have so far not provided comment on the changes.

What are your thoughts on the new permanent opening hours at Newark Hospital’s Urgent Treatment Centre? Let us know.

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